Innovative Media Studio

Visualizing Qatar’s Past

Qatar is currently undertaking an unprecedented level of archaeological research and excavation, helping to provide a greater understanding of its diverse and long heritage. Working in partnership with world leading academic institutions, Qatar is developing an understanding of its heritage to its people and its relation to the rest of the world. The visual recording of its heritage helps to provide a detailed and publicly accessible printed and digital record, multimedia applications can be used to present and to create accessibility to a sometimes less than accessible past, helping to further the development of an educational out-reach tool. The use of photographic and video recording of Qatar’s heritage from the air allows for both plan like presentations of a site in a way that is not normally viewable to people, as well as enabling the editing of video fly-through presentation, enabling a better visualization of a site and its landscape to a great audience. The use of this method of recording also brings access to areas of towns, buildings, landscapes and not normally easily accessible.

The act of recording the excavation of archaeological sites allows for preservation of the processes involved in the exploration and development of understanding Qatar’s built heritage as well as providing an educational tool to others in the processes and time taken to unearth and discover Qatar’s past, helping to create a comprehensive archive for current and future generations.

The acquisition of the capability to carry out low altitude high resolution aerial image capture will provide Qatar with:
1) the means to obtain a comprehensive set of vertical and oblique images and film footage of Qatar’s sites and monuments
2) an effective tool for use on archaeological excavations and surveys
3) a cost effective reliable and accurate form of aerial reconnaissance
4) an additional source of images for educational use and for the promotion of Qatar’s culture and heritage.

The principal aim of this research is to build up a visual record of Qatar’s archaeological and heritage sites and to develop new methods of recording and analysis based on the use of UAV photography.


This project will be carried out by the core team:
L-PI, Andrew Petersen, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Co-LPI, Diane Derr, Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar
Representative, Mutarda Kodi, Qatar Museum Authority










Interacting with Qatar’s Past

‘Interacting with Qatar’s Past’ explores a critical engagement in the rich and complex history of Qatar through the entangled relationship of culture and technology. The territory of interactive media, reflected in this exhibition, enables new and alternate frameworks through which we may view, use, and engage with information.

In 2011 VCUQatar, the University of Wales, and the Qatar Museum Authority began collaboratively working on the NPRP funded project ‘Visualizing Qatar’s Past’. The principle aim of this project has been to expand the visual recording of Qatar’s diverse cultural heritage in the documentation and preservation of a publicly accessible record, through new methods of recording and analysis based on the use of UAV photography and video.

This research project builds upon ‘ Visualizing Qatar’s Past’ by researching and subsequently disseminating this information through various interactive technologies.



Lines in the Sand

‘Lines in the Sand’ is an exhibition that brings together realms that seem at first to be mutually exclusive – the historical and the contemporary; the real and the virtual; the tangible and the intangible. This exhibition unearths Qatar’s rich and complex history through interactive media designed to create new and alternate frameworks through with we may view, use and engage with the past.

Building upon previous collaborative research at the Al Ruwayda archaeological site which was funded by an NPRP grant from the Qatar National Research Fund and involving VCUQatar, the University of Wales and Qatar Museums Authority, ‘Lines in the Sand’ moves archeology into the contemporary gallery and thus enables new and dynamic interactions, insights and juxtapositions. This, in turn, provides critical understanding of Qatar’s past, and encourages individual narratives to be constructed.

‘Lines in the Sand’ was made possible through a collaboration between VCUQatar, the University of Wales and Qatar Museum Authority and was funded by a VCUQatar Faculty Research Grant.

Projects created and directed by Diane Derr working in collaboration with Law Alsobrook, Leslie Forehand, Mirza Baig, Hussein Wanas, Zoe Donald, Hassan Wanas and Dr. Andrew Petersen.

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